First-ever Lindenwald Color Run sends folks between 2 parks

HAMILTON — Arnita Gunn tried to elude a youngster who approached her at top speed with a squeeze bottle full of blue cornstarch powder.

The blue ended up mixing in with plenty of other colors that were plastered across her white T-shirt.

“I guess we’re not finished yet,” Gunn laughed.

The first-ever Lindenwald Color Run took place Sunday, as roughly 50 participants of various ages walked and jogged from Schuster Park down Van Hook Avenue to Benninghofen Park.

“We saw this as an opportunity for the community to get together for some fun,” said Gunn, a Lindenwald resident who helped spearhead the event with Linden Elementary principal Brandi Hazelwood.

The color run was sponsored and paid for by microgrants through 17Strong, Hamilton’s citizen-led initiative that provides a framework for communication and sense of identity to rally groups and individuals together.

Gunn, a 17Strong board member and development manager at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, hosts a diversity awareness block party in Lindenwald. She said the color run will be “a great addition to the block party and movies in the park that we host throughout the year.”

The city-approved event was blocked off at side streets and escorted by Hamilton police for safety. Members of Lindenwald’s community council, PROTOCOL, along with Linden Elementary staff, the Healthy Hamilton Coalition and other volunteers assisted the color run.

“The idea came from just wanting to bring both ends of Lindenwald together the best we can,” Hazelwood said before joking. “Hamilton police thought it was a 5K, and I said, ‘Oh, no. Not yet. Maybe next year.’”

Participants received an event T-shirt before making their way from Schuster Park to Benninghofen Park, which is a half a mile.

“This goes to show you that the possibilities are endless,” PROTOCOL chair Frank Downie said. “You just have to think a little bit. ... We’re continuing to move forward as a community. Anything that brings this amount of people out in a unique way is wonderful.”

Gunn said the color run is just one of the many ideas circulating that will allow Lindenwald residents to come together for family-fun times in the future.

“I call this a success,” Gunn said. “We can grow from this. There are so many things that Brandi and I have talked about that can make this bigger than what it was today.

“I think everyone who missed out on today will see pictures and think, ‘Gosh, we should have participated in this.’”

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